Saturday, August 4, 2007
Heather Stewart, economics editor
Sunday August 5, 2007
Contributed by Lucia
"Iraq's energy ministry is using a Saddam-era decree to crack down on trade unions and stifle dissent against foreign exploitation of the country's vast oil reserves, the Basra-based oil workers' union claims.
Hassan Juma'a, the union's leader, has been at the forefront of a public campaign against the signing of a controversial new oil law - demanded by Washington - that would lead to long-term profit-sharing contracts being signed with multinational oil giants.
But Hussein Shahrastani, Iraq's oil minister, has now issued a directive banning unions from participating in any official discussions about the new law, 'since these unions have no legal status to work within the state sector'......
Shahrastani's ban is only the latest move against the union. Earlier this year, arrest warrants were issued for its leaders after they threatened to strike."